Richmond Flying Squirrels extend winning streak to four

richmond-squirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels (10-10) claimed their fourth consecutive win as four hurlers combined to blank the Altoona Curve (8-11), 3-0, in front of 3,018 at The Diamond on Tuesday night.  The win returns the Squirrels to a .500 record for the first time since they fell under .500 at 4-5.

Despite both pitching very well, neither starter factored in the decision.  Richmond right-hander Justin Fitzgerald struck out 10 batters over five scoreless innings.  He permitted six hits and walked one, but made big pitches when it mattered, stranding seven Curve runners during his time on the hill.  On a Major League rehab outing, Curve right-hander Charlie Morton looked sharp over four scoreless frames.  Flashing a mid-90’s fastball, the former Richmond Brave limited the Squirrels to just one hit.  He did walk two, but struck out three, tossing 69 pitches in the outing.

The Squirrels finally broke the scoreless-stalemate against Altoona right-hander David Bromberg in the bottom of the sixth inning.  With two outs, Javier Herrera stroked a single into right field.  Ricky Oropesa followed and went the other way with a single to left-center field.  Herrera sprinted from first to third, where he stood with Mark Minicozzi at the plate.  Minicozzi fell behind 0-2, but punched a breaking-ball into right field to plate Herrera for a 1-0 Richmond lead.

Bromberg (0-2) took the loss for the Curve despite allowing just one run over three innings of relief.  It was the second defeat of the year for Bromberg, and also the second time he has dropped a decision to the Squirrels.

Richmond padded their lead with two runs in the eighth inning.  Oropesa notched his second single of the night to knock in Joe Panik.  Minicozzi then collected his second RBI single of the ballgame to cap the scoring for the evening.

Three Richmond relievers completed the third shutout of the season for the Squirrels.  Right-hander Omar Javier (2-0) followed Fitzgerald with two scoreless innings of relief.  That effort earned him his second win of the year.  Lefty Tom Vessella handled the eighth inning, and right-hander Daryl Maday had little trouble in the ninth to claim his fifth save of the year.

The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. on Monday morn

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